Hanging at the Skip Hop Tree Friends gym
One of the fun parts of prepping for baby was researching items to add to our wish lists and registry. As a genre of consumer goods, I was about as unfamiliar as I could be with baby items. At different points, I asked the "been there, done that" moms I knew, I searched for blog posts, I read reviews, and I went with my gut. We wound up being showered generously by many loved ones who were so excited to welcome Emilia and help make our family transition as smooth as possible.
Now that she is nearly nine months old (!!), I figured I would share some of the most useful and lovingly used items among the baby gear. Because she is such a different tiny human with new and changing needs, I am breaking it into two posts. This one covers the "fourth trimester," aka the period from birth to three months. The next will be from 3-6 months.
As shown above, the Skip Hop baby gym has been a favorite around these parts from week one. It is great for tummy time as well as kick time. Emilia still plays with it so its usefulness extends well beyond the fourth trimester. And it is adorably gender neutral making it a wise buy for people contemplating more than one baby.
I realized when I was putting together my list, most of the items for 0-3 months are about facilitating sleep. This makes sense because so much newborn time is spent sleeping. So the following items are about sleeping and soothing.
Although we knew we wanted to co-sleep to make nighttime breastfeeding easy on everyone, our bed didn't seem very conducive to doing so, safely. Our bedroom isn't set up in a way that would accommodate the Arms Reach Cosleeper loved by so many. And I didn't want her to be across the room in a pack'n'play. So we went with this Summer Infant Side by Side Co-sleeper. It is essentially a padded metal frame with mesh sides and a cushy oval bed. The stock photo on the box depicts the bassinet set between the two doting parents. We tried this the first night we were home from the hospital and it was too big to be comfortable in our queen size bed. Thankfully, we have a foot board so we put it at our feet so that we could just sit up and soothe her in those early days.
It was great that she had her own space while being so close. Some nights Chris and I would take turns laying at the foot of the bed with her, allowing us to get close without fear of falling too deep into sleep. Especially when I was still taking prescription pain medication after surgery, it seemed important to keep her close albeit in her own safe spot.
Perched nearby at the top left of the photo is the mini Sleep Sheep. Wow was this thing clutch! We brought it everywhere because it was so useful to have white noise to calm her and allow her to nap. Sometimes we still bring the sound machine part when we travel in case we're in a louder hotel or something.
My favorite sound machine option is the Homedics Sound Spa Lullaby that has many songs and sounds, a timer function, a plug in option so you don't need to worry about batteries, and best of all, it has the option to project a light show onto the ceiling or wall. She still loves this light show! And when she was really small, she was MESMERIZED! This was an off registry gift from my aunt and it is probably the most useful, helpful sleep related thing that goes well beyond the 0-3 month period. We have brought it with us on every overnight trip because the white noise options are versatile and you can use the timer or just let it play all night. It muffles city noises and dog barks fantastically!
In the early days, Emilia slept best when she was swaddled and we had apparatuses for this. Summer Infant Sleep Swaddlers, Halo Sleep Sack Swaddles, Aden and Anais muslin blankets, etc. Although I liked the muslin blankets that were recommended highly everywhere, in the early days I preferred the Pottery Barn Kids receiving blankets in flannel. They were warmer and seemed to stay in place better than the muslin. Since she was born in November, she spent a lot of time adjusting to the coolness of our drafty house. We increased the base temperature of our thermostat but having warm swaddle blankets also made a difference. After she grew a bit, I came to really love the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle because she had plenty of kick room and the versatility of the swaddle wings that could just wrap around her waist or help snuggle her arms.
in the moby
They don't always sleep though! They like to look around and explore. On the coldest days we didn't really take Emilia on many walks but we still tried to get her out and about. For walks while babywearing, we used the Moby Wrap and the Baby K'tan. She was too little for the Ergo then and these felt more snuggly. We also liked our Britax Chaperone car seat which snapped into the Britax B-Agile stroller. The stroller is lightweight and folds in a snap. It also fits into my trunk much better than the Chicco Cortina travel system I also considered.
Laying on the newborn napper pillow
It's helpful to have a spot to put your baby while you're hanging out together so we loved the Boppy Newborn pillow. We would put it between us while we ate dinner on our coffee table. That said, it looks just like a dog bed so we had to be pretty vigilant in putting it up and away from Speck.
Speaking of pillows, I continued to use my pregnancy pillow as an in-bed nursing support pillow. Although I had a regular boppy that lived downstairs, if I was only buying one to last through pregnancy and postpartum, I'd re-buy this.
Other hits: wipes warmer (winter babies in old drafty houses need them), nosefrida, hooded towels, books, toys, a nursing cover, burp cloths, socks that look like shoes, buntings from baby gap (that zip instead of button!), a video monitor, hats... so many hats. I could go on... but I'll stop there for now.